Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mermaid Party–Fun with the Birthday Girl

Time for the last segment of the Mermaid Party.  Today is all about the guest of honor, Miss Lucy Lee.  Here she is in her big pile o’ presents.  She blends right in with the gifts.  She was as pretty as a princess in her mermaid frock, but that fake smile she’s rocking there is making me crazy.

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To keep the kiddos entertained at the party, I planned a couple of crafts for them to do.  Let’s face it, July in Louisiana is no time to be outdoors ripping and romping.

Unless you have a pool.

Which we don’t.

So it’s indoor activities for Lucy’s birthday party.

I found the cutest sand art kits at the dollar store.  I had no idea how much the kids would enjoy making these.  It kept them occupied for a good half hour.  I actually had to call “time” so we could move on to cake and ice cream.

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Finally, time for presents!

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After a quick verse of Happy Birthday, Lucy tore into the gifts.

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A pretty, pink, Hello Kitty watch

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A pair of Ariel high heels

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No self-respecting princess would be caught dead without her crown and jewels.

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Lucy also received an Ariel backpack, a Baby Alive, the Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game, puzzles, counting bears, Leapfrog Text & Learn, Ariel Squinkies, and a big box of pink Legos, among other things.  So many new, fun things to do.

As soon as all the guests had departed, Lucy and I began to play.  The best part of the whole day – just Lucy and I, quietly playing games and building with Legos.  I don’t know who was enjoying it more.

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Happy Birthday, Little LuLu.  I love you!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mermaid Party–Decorations & Food

Instead of doing two separate posts on the Mermaid party food and décor, I decided to cover both today.

First, the decorations.  The fun started at the back door with a welcome to all the little mermaids.  I painted this sign on a piece of scrap wood left over from when we built our chicken coop.  I actually had this sign hanging in the corner over a bubble machine.  The little mermaids loved being greeted by a deluge of bubbles as they entered the party.

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I made this simple “4” wreath to hang on the back door.  I just knotted strands of tulle around the wreath.  The 4 is made from cardboard that I cut from a pizza box top, painted, and sprinkled with glitter.

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I had so much fun planning and prepping for the party room décor.  Most of the decorations came from the dollar store.  You have to be creative sometimes, but it’s possible to find some cute stuff to work with there.  For the mermaid party I was able to pick up the fish nets, table cloths, vases, votives, candles, serving dishes, sand, and seashells.

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One of the main projects I worked on for this party was making the twisted tissue paper tassels.  I used these tassels to make a few garlands and to decorate the chair backs.  Tissue paper is probably my favorite party staple, because it is so versatile and inexpensive.  It can be used for so many things – table runners, placemats, vase filler, tassels, pom poms, flowers, and of course for gift bags.

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I made the placemats by cutting seashells shapes from a plastic table cloth.  Inside the little boxes were favors for the girls - tiny Ariel Squinkie rings that I picked up at Target on clearance.  What a score!  There was also a seashell hair bow waiting at each place setting for the girls.

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Down the center of the dining table I used my burlap table runner which sort of reminded me of sand.  Then I scattered some seashells and glass beads on top.  I also filled candle holders with water which I dyed with food coloring.  And to my surprise, I discovered that tea lights would float in the water.  Love it!

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Here are a couple of those tissue paper tassels tied on the chair backs.

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For the china cabinet behind the guest of honor I made a “Happy Birthday” bunting with scraps of burlap and muslin.  I used foam stamps and acrylic paint to spell out Happy Birthday.

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Now on to the food table!  I tried my hardest to come up with some cute mermaid-y treats for the party goers to enjoy.  I’m aggravated with myself, though, because in all the party rush, I totally forgot to take a picture of the food table.  All I managed to get were a few shots of the individual dishes after they’d already been picked over.  Oh well, at least I got something.

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I created these simple food labels using some free mermaid clipart I found online.

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The oyster cookies were probably my favorite treat simply because they were so cute!  Ty and Lucy helped out by rolling the fondant pearls for them.

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What little mermaid wouldn’t love to sink her teeth into a Peanut Butter and Jellyfish Sandwich?  I’ll tell you who.  Lucy!  She’s not a fan of PB&J.

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And a little something for the older mermaids… Seaweed Sushi.  No cooking involved here.  These are just assorted pinwheel sandwiches I picked up at Sam’s.

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Sweet & Sour Eels because every mermaid needs her sugar fix.

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The easiest nautical treat of all – Goldfish!

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I also served up some Oyster Firecrackers, Chicken of the Sea Sandwiches (chicken salad), and Assorted Shells (chips) with “Shore is good Dip.”

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Nothing like a glass of Ocean Water to wash everything down.

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One more birthday post to come – the birthday girl and friends!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Mermaid Party–The Cake

Well, Lucy’s mermaid birthday bash is ancient history now.  I took nearly 200 pictures to document the big celebration, so I have tons to share with y’all.  I decided that it would be best to break the party down into 3 separate posts:  the cake, the food, and the décor.

Today is all about the cake.

Lucy asked for a big mermaid castle cake with Ariel sitting on top, but it’s hard for me to decorate an elaborate cake and plan a big party.  So I compromised with her a little bit and just made a sand castle cake with a mermaid on top.

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I cheated a bit on this cake and used canned icing instead of making my own.  I’m glad this cake wasn’t all about a smooth finish, because that’s nearly impossible to achieve with the store-bought stuff.  However, no one could tell once I slapped the “sand” on the cake.

The sand is an assortment of crushed cookies. (I just cleaned out my pantry!)  There were graham crackers, vanilla wafers, and ginger snaps all in the mix.

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Little Miss Mermaid was sculpted using a combination of gum paste and my homemade fondant.  I added the gum paste to help her dry rock hard and sturdy.

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The turrets on the castle are the ends of ice cream cones that I iced and then rolled in cookie crumbs.  Easy, peasy!

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I thought the cake turned out nice enough, but Lucy quickly informed me that Ariel did NOT live in a sand castle.  (How she would know is a  mystery to me.)  She did like the mermaid on top, though.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Schooling

Hello!  I’m stopping in quickly today to share a few pics of what we’ve been up to this summer.  I’ve been super busy the past two weeks putting together all the details for Lucy’s big mermaid birthday bash, but I didn’t want to fall behind on blogging again.

Just because it’s 100 degrees out, doesn’t mean we can’t squeeze in a little fun learning this summer.  However, this is easier done with Lucy than with Ty.  She begs every day to do “school work.”  I’m happy to oblige.  She usually does 4 to 6 worksheets a day concentrating on letter sounds, numbers, cutting, pasting, tracing, and coloring.  I also try to include some hands-on work with things like beads, play dough, puzzles, or Bend-a-Roos.

Here is a simple activity I made for her using pipe cleaners.  I just taped a number onto the end of several pipe cleaners, and she strung the correct number of beads onto them.  Simple, I know, but it kept her entertained.

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Lucy’s favorite “subject” has got to be cutting.  It’s the first thing she wants to work on everyday.  I made these practice sheets using the letters of her name, then had her cut along the lines through each star.  It stickers seemed to be a good way to help her stay on the lines.

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Another of Lucy’s favorite activities is using her Do A Dot paints.  I love these.  Lucy is very careful with them, so she doesn’t make a mess.  We use them to work on everything from phonics, to counting, to art.  On this day I taped a large piece of freezer paper to the floor and labeled boxes with numbers.  My intention was for her to paint the correct number of dots in each box.  Lucy’s intentions were different.  Take a look at the box labeled “1.”  When I questioned her about it, she explained that she drew one caterpillar.  For box “3” she painted three dots, and then told me that she thought it would be better to have four instead.  Oh, well.  I pretty much just left her alone after that.

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Ty is not quite as eager to do school as his sister is.  I guess that’s one of the side effects of being a boy.  One activity he worked on earlier this summer was this owl lapbook.  I really am fond of lapbooks.  They are great ways to record facts about any subject, and are good tools to use for review.  I also had Lucy do an owl lapbook of her own.  At the end of the week all three of us made owls out of empty toilet paper tubes.

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I’ve also had Ty working a few arithmetic papers each week.  Those darned multiplication facts just won’t stick! Guess we’ll just keep plugging away at them.  They’re bound to click one of these days.

My plan is to start our new school year the first week of August.  All of our books finally came in, and I have been busy working on schedules and plans for the the first 12 weeks or so.  Of course all this planning might be akin to spitting in the wind since baby sis is due to arrive in under 12 weeks.  I’m sure that will throw a monkey wrench in things.  Guess we’ll have to cross that bridge when it gets here, though.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Little More Birthday Fun

Y’all might remember that every year on the monkeys’ birthdays, at their exact times of birth, I take their picture.  Well, this year on Ty’s birthday, we were on the road with the Tool Man staying at the state park I mentioned in this post.  The monkeys love to visit there, mostly because there is a nice, sandy beach they can play on.  That’s what we were up to at Ty’s birth time.

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Boy, this little monkey is growing up way too fast!  It occurred to me the other day that this birthday marks the halfway point to him being a grown-up.  Ugh.  Makes me wanna cry just thinking about it.

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For the big birthday dinner, we had frozen pizza and a store-bought cookie cake.  Yummo!  Don’t judge me.  There was absolutely nothing else to choose from in this one horse town.  At least we had actual fire for Ty to blow out on these candles.

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Even though I made Ty wait until his party to open most of his gifts, I did remember to bring one present for Ty to have on his birthday.  Legos, of course!

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We were able to bring the boat along with us on this trip, so the Tool Man decided to take the opportunity to teach Ty how to water ski.  Everything started out rosy.  Ty did really well on his first couple of attempts.  But for some reason, he had the idea that he was supposed to be able to ski like a pro his first time out, and he soon became discouraged.  Once the tears started to flow it was over.  He just gave up.  So, we loaded him back into the boat, and waited until the next afternoon to try again.

Ty did slightly better the next day.  He skied a little longer on each attempt, but for some reason he was sure that he should have been able to make it all the way across the lake.  Needless to say he was disappointed again.

Oh, how I love the look of determination on his face!

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At least this day ended in smiles instead of tears.

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After skiing lessons, the monkeys wanted to do a little fishing.  Too bad they didn’t catch us any supper.  Fresh fish would have been way better than frozen pizza.

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The next week, when we made it back home, the Tool Man took Ty skiing again in our back yard, and guess what.  This time Ty got it!  He’s a natural.  He even flashed me the peace sign as he skied by our house.  What a nut!